Power Gig: Rise of the SixString review
After the disaster that was Rock Revolution, it's almost surprising that another developer is taking a stab at the music genre. Though given it is the first game to feature an actual electric guitar as the controller, the developers knew they had to offer something different than the standard music offerings to distinguish themselves from the norm.
The main draw to Power Gig was the claim that players could play real chords to the 70 songs on the disc. This statement could not be further from the truth. The game revolves around the use of the five colored frets, meaning you will play using only those, which makes playing with the bundled guitar useless and awkward.
Talking about standard play is worthless since it's a straight rip-off of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The Power Chord mode is the main distinguishing feature, which was supposed to redefine music games. However this is an absolute miss. Power chords are performed on colored frets, meaning you will never be going any higher on the neck. When it comes to solos, it breaks back down to simplistic colored notes, meaning you can play them on any string you want, completely ruining the illusion of playing actual guitar.
What ruins the experience even more is the poorly designed guitar. Sure, it can double as an actual electric guitar, but the finger detection is horrendous, which is yet another aspect it fails on. Being knowledgeable with a guitar, I know when I'm holding the chords down correctly, yet the game either doesn't detect a strum, or it doesn't detect that I'm holding the chord down. You know the game is bad when you fail the tutorial because of bad detection. This makes the entire experience downright frustrating.
Another baffling design decision is the gameplay interface. It as if the developers didn't even try as one quick look at Rock Revolution and it's deja vu all over again. The horrendous interface, which scrolls all the notes straight down vertically, makes anticipating notes difficult for newcomers, not to mention those who want to try power chords for the first time. Since the game doesn't seem push the hardware to its limits, it's odd that just restarting a song takes up to 20 seconds. Adding in the the overly long load times before a set list, there's a lot of waiting around to be done.
The set list is yet another disappointment. It has some variety, and features music that wasn't yet included in other music games, but most of it feels out of place and isn't fun to play. The other problem is that not all of them are unlocked from the beginning, making you trudge your way through the career. If that wasn’t enough, each venue you play at will give you only a handful of songs to play, and unless you actually score well (which is downright impossible) you are forced to keep on replaying them.
Graphics are mediocre at best, and resemble Guitar Hero 2, with its caricatured characters. Power Gig tries to incorporate a story, where you find yourself in a dystopia of outlawed music, making you rise against "the Man" called the Headliner with the power of rock. I'm not going to knock the story because at least it tries to tie in the progression of playing song after song with some sort of narrative.
Each character possesses a Mojo Power, which is an intriguing idea beyond the now standard Star Power or Overdrive. These powers when activated can help you score perfect hits on each note, get a bigger streak bonus, increase multipliers etc. But the game yet again manages to somehow mess this up. To activate each power, you have to tilt the analog joystick that's located near the start and back buttons, which will more often than not result in missing notes, and each power only lasts a good five seconds, which makes them relatively useless.
I was unable to review the drum kit since only the guitar bundle was sent to us, but if the guitar and game are any indication of its quality, I can only be thankful. I find it funny that a game that prides itself on rocking with authenticity, has a drum set that makes you air drum.
Power Gig had the potential to rise up above its competition, but badly designed hardware, a poorly imitated interface, a less than stellar set list, non-engaging gameplay that nowhere near mimics real guitar playing, and, most of all, empty promises of playing real guitar, have left it to be appropriately nicknamed as "Rock Revolution 2: Road to Nowhere."
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]